As I mentioned a while back, I’ve been participating in the Sewing Buddy Challenge at Whipstitch.
Our first challenge wrapped up this month, and my partner and I won 2nd place! We were to collaborate to make a pair of boy/girl projects, which works out perfectly since I have Dexter and Elisabeth has her baby daughter, Cate. We made these precious little dolls from Wee Wonderfuls called Olive and Archie.
This pattern was absolutely worth the money. I only had one problem with it, which I will go into later. But, for your $15, you get the patterns for both Olive and Archie, plus all sorts of clothes, and accessories including backpacks, sleeping bags, and a cat pal.
Elisabeth and I chose a color palette, using Moda’s A Walk in the Woods line as our inspiration. I would have loved to just get some of that fabric, because it is PRECIOUS, but I’m trying to stash-bust. So I had to bring that vibe to my doll while keeping down extra purchases.
I created a few sketches, with three major goals in mind:
1. Use what I have as much as I can.
2. Stick to the color palatte/theme we chose.
3. Make the little guy look as much like Dexter as possible.
I easily found a felt in color similar to Dexter’s hair. I ended up getting a blend because I was trying to keep costs down. I can tell that it’s pilled a bit, but overall I think it’s fine.
But finding a skin tone nearly drove me crazy. I shopped at Joann Fabrics, which I normally really like. But they had a whopping total of two fabrics that could possibly work for skintone. One of them was too orange (we are an extremely pale family) and the other was thinner and weirder looking than I’d like. I made the smart choice and went with thin and weird.
I started stitching my hair on. So far so good. Except in this photo, you can see straight through to the paper under the fabric. But surely that won’t be a problem, right? Right??
I’m 99% certain I washed my fabric before cutting. But I really can’t remember now. After sewing all my hair on and starting to assemble the body, I ironed some seams, and suddenly the weirdness of the fabric became an actual problem.
The fabric melted/shrunk. The photo above shows the difference between the pattern piece and how much shrinkage occurred. In retrospect, desperation to find the right color may have caused me to get something partially synthetic. But I will never know, because when I went back to Joann for a replacement, I couldn’t find the mystery fabric.
So I came some with the too-orange fabric, washed it… and then realized under our lights that it was yellow.
Long story short, I went to Hobby Lobby and found an acceptable fabric. The twist: A few days after I submitted my doll, I found my own stash of fleshtone fabric. Sigh.
Aside from that, the pattern started out ridiculously easy. But there comes a point when the creator tells you that you will be cursing her name, and she was not wrong. I didn’t curse *her* per se, but I nearly lost it several times. The problem is that wretched bottom panel. If you’ve made this pattern before, I’m sure you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t and plan to, you *will* know what i’m talking about! I Googled and searched and pleaded to the internet fairies to give me the answer and I never found it.
In the end I just had to wing it. So Archie has a funky butt.
I thought it might bother me that my handstitching is so awful, but I’m just glad that part is over. And as with childbirth, I’ve almost forgotten the pain and would do totally do it all over again.
The eyes where my only other creative difficulty, because I wanted Archie to look like Dexter, but Dex has hazel eyes that are difficult to replicate.
I almost settled for these plain dark eyes, which I love, but I just really wanted light eyes, even if they were still wrong. So I chose to do a circle of charcoal gray with pale blue on top to create irises.
I stuck on all the features, subbing felt scraps for the mouth and nose, to get the correct placement and shapes. Then I just stitched on the face.
I made a little red jacket last minute using the hoodie pattern included in the set. I didn’t finish the seams, because I was running out of time. But I really wanted that pop of color to complete the look I was going for. It was then that I realized that I didn’t like the placement of the arms, beause with the jacket on, things look a little weird and the jacket actually doesn’t want to stay on.
But, I was extremely happy with how he turned out!